This Saturday was the Windermere Cup crew race. It’s one of the harbingers of spring in Seattle. I know I’ve been posting photographs of “spring” flowers for a couple of months now, but at this northern latitude, we don’t trust that spring has really arrived until May. Come May, we have the Windermere Cup, Copper River king salmon, and the Seattle International Film Festival to suggest that warm(er) weather might be here to stay.
For those who aren’t from Seattle, the Windermere Cup is a crew race that also marks the start of “boating season” in Seattle. If you live in our neighborhood, this day stands out because of its effect on local traffic. For a couple of days prior to the event, pleasure boats start lining up on the Montlake cut. This causes all sorts of rubbernecking delays on the 520 bridge, because the local drivers apparently have never seen boats before.
The Montlake Cut and the Montlake Bridge
After a few days of rubbernecking traffic, things reach their peak on Saturday. For most of Saturday, the Montlake bridge is closed to car traffic. In the morning, they do a crew race through the Montlake cut. In the afternoon, they have a parade of pleasure boats to kick off the start of boating season.
For the past five years of living in this neighborhood, Molly & I just knew this event from the traffic. This year, we decided we’d take Alex to the races. We might as well get the benefit of living within (extended) walking distance! Our friend Meredith joined us in the morning, and we took the 30-minute walk along the Burke-Gilman bike trail to see the festivities.
All told, it was a fun morning. The weather was nice. A wee bit chilly, and a wee bit overcast, but no rain! When we got to the Montlake cut, it had the pure feeling of watching a minor league baseball game; athletics uncorrupted by money. But in this case, the athletics involved racing in narrow boats in an extremely narrow stretch of water.
And there was something about the scenery of boats and water that reminded us why we like living in Seattle.
Alex had a great time, too, as he got to roam about on the grass. And there were lots of people nearby to keep him occupied. And did I mention sticks? There were lots of sticks on the ground, and Alex loved them. He wanted to eat them.
When he wasn’t eating sticks, he was sharing goldfish with new-found friends.
While Alex was a trooper during the morning, he eventually crashed. We had to walk him home before the parade of pleasure boats. Something for us to do next year, I guess.